What you should know to get the coverage you actually need

Insurance is one of those things that everyone knows about, but for many people, the details can be murky. This is perhaps especially true when it comes to insuring a car. If you’ll be a new driver soon or perhaps it’s time for an updated policy, these tips will help you make smart decisions:

The basic requirements

At a minimum, all drivers are required to carry liability insurance. The rules around the country differ, but in New York, these liability minimums are:

  • $10,000 for property damage for a single accident
  • $25,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for death for a person involved in an accident
  • $50,000 for bodily injury and $100,000 for death for two or more people in an accident

While you may be content with a basic car insurance policy, it may not provide you with adequate coverage. To figure out if you should augment your policy, answer these questions:

What’s the value of your car?

If you have a brand-new car or one that’s still quite valuable, you need to ensure it will be protected. A collision policy is the best way to do this. This is usually required by leasing companies and financial institutions.

You should also consider going with comprehensive coverage, which covers damage from things like broken glass, vandalism, theft, or even flooding. However, if you drive an older car that doesn’t have a lot of value, a collision or comprehensive policy may not be worth the expense.

How often (or far) do you drive?

Depending on where you live, you may not do a ton of driving. If you’re in an urban area, it is possible you take public transportation or walk or bike most of the time. If this is the case, you might not need more than a basic car insurance policy.

The same is true if you work from home. But if you do a lot of driving – especially if you have a long commute – you really should have solid coverage.

How much money do you have saved?

With that basic liability policy, your insurance will only pay those amounts. If, for example, you cause an accident that results in serious injuries to another driver, you could be looking at a very expensive medical bill. Once your insurance company reaches the maximum payout, you’ll be on the hook for the rest. To avoid this, you can increase your liability coverage.

Otherwise, you will be self-insuring with any savings.

How much can you afford?

An insurance policy that covers everything – from a big accident to a small scratch – sounds great, but it may not fit into your budget. You have to be sure that the policy you choose gives you the right coverage at a price you can afford.

It is also worth looking into any discounts you may be eligible for, such as those related to your car’s safety features or if you have taken a defensive driving course. Another thing to think about is your deductible. Going with a larger deductible can help you cut your premiums.

Everyone has different needs when it comes to car insurance, and answering these questions is a great first step to getting your best policy. To learn more about your options, get in touch with NICRIS Insurance Agency. We offer all types of insurance solutions, including auto, home, and life. Call us at 516-544-0006 or just fill out our online contact form.